Bilum From Papua New Guinea
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Bilum From Papua New Guinea:
Abilumis a string bag made by hand inPapua New Guinea. The bag can be made by a process known as looping orknotless nettingor bycrocheting. Traditionally, the string used was handmade, normally from plant materials. Now, however, many people who can afford to do so make their bilums from store bought yarn and string.
Bilums are used to carry a wide range of items, from shopping goods in large bilums to personal items in purse-sized varieties. Mothers often carry their babies in bilums.
Whilst the traditional method of making bilums using woven plant reeds is still widely spread across Papua New Guinea, many villagers are now finding it easier to use wool-based yarns to make their bags. This allows a greater diversity of color schemes to be incorporated into the making of the bilums, and as a result they are more highly sought after, due to their highly visible and different patterns and color combinations.
Local men usually prefer to use long handle styles so they can be worn over the shoulder, freeing their arms for more important issues, like carrying important bush knives or to grab onto things while hiking mountains. Women often prefer the short handled versions that they can sling across their foreheads to carry greater loads, such as babies and/or large quantities of foodstuff (yams/potatoes/kau-kau etc.)
Either way, there is now a definite swing to the more vivid color/patterning styles that afford the bearer to be more distinctive in making his/her fashion statement.
They come in different patterns, each pattern resembling certain tribe or clan. More complex and specific patterns are made for carrying during public appearances or displayed during the ceremonial events. The special ceremonial events include yam festivals, tambuan dances, bride price payment, dead compensation and barter.
Sales from this bilum will go to a non-profit charity PNGINUSA (www.pnginusa.org) to help disadvantaged women in Papua New Guinea.